Fall has arrived and the nature is filled with warm colors and strong scents is the perfect time to go to the woods and discover the rewards that still in store for us this season, and enjoy them later in the evening in the warmth of home. Those lucky enough to live in areas where they grow chestnut, can take the opportunity to spend an afternoon in the woods and devote himself to the chestnut harvest.
We do too all'Agricampeggio Relax, it is a pleasure that we can not give up: each year we immerse ourselves in the tranquility of our chestnut medium mountain, located 500 m above sea level, and we are looking curly fallen from the trees. We have at our disposal about 10,000 m of land, where they grow a hundred chestnuts and autumn picnics are a family tradition.
The chestnut trees grow wild in woodland areas at medium altitude and are freely accessible if you do not belong to private ownership; if in doubt you can find out in the town on the areas where harvesting is allowed. You just have to remember that the maximum amount of fruit that you can collect is established by law, and is usually set at 2 kg per person, and follow a few tips to avoid disappointment.
Tips for the chestnuts' collection
The ideal time to gather chestnuts from mid-October to late November, this is the time when the fruits ripen and fall off by themselves from the trees.
Before heading into the woods, it's good minursi of appropriate clothing to mountain hikes: non-slip boots, long pants and socks, waterproof jacket, gloves not to prick yourself with the curls and a stick to move the leaves looking fruits.
Recognizing the chestnut trees is simple, are towering trees with long leaves 20 cm and a serrated profile, at their feet you see an expanse of urchins.
Chestnuts fall down spontaneously when they are ripe, while the unripe fruits remain on the trees; so it is useless to try to detach them from the branches, and must absolutely avoid breaking the branches to get to hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs usually contain 2-3 chestnuts, as we remember an old proverb: "one to master, to a farmer and to the poor." Often curly they open yourself caddendo ground; otherwise just do a little 'pressure with the stick and will hatch.
Chestnuts should be stored in containers that allow fruit to breathe, so are fine wicker baskets and jute bags or paper, but it is better eviare plastic bags. Once you get home, you should do immediately choose and discard the rotten fruit, before eroding even healthy chestnuts.
The good chestnuts are easily recognizable: they are firm and intact, uniform color. If you have small holes on the skin, or are soft and bruised, likely they contain parasites, while if the appearance is dusty and dull may be buggy.
A simple method to identify the damaged chestnuts, consists nell'immergerle in a basin full of cold water overnight: the nicked chestnuts will surface while normal cells remain on the bottom.
How to store chestnuts
Chestnuts should be eaten freshly picked, when stored in a cool and ventilated places can remain fresh and tasty for about two weeks.
You can also store them for a long time to enjoy them all winter, here's some advice:
- The chestnuts can be frozen, you must first wash them and make sure they are healthy with the method of the basin, affecting the back with a boxcutter and put them in the freezer. Alternatively you can freeze already cooked: roasted in a pan or boil them in boiling water, peel and private, will last a few months in the freezer and will be ready for use.
- An ancient and effective technique for preserving chestnuts longer is the traditional "novena": plans to immerse the chestnuts in cold water for at least ua week, changing the water every day. This eliminates the aerobic microorganisms responsible for the formation of mold and rot, and chestnuts will last longer.
- Who owns a chestnut, as we can rediscover the traditional practice of "ricciaia" is to leave behind the curls and sprinkle with the dry leaves, where they will preserve for several days until the time when we're going to collect.
- Finally, to taste the unique flavor of chestnuts all year, you can make a good jam, or dry them and grind them to derive the chestnut flour, excellent for use in puff pastry or desserts.
Festival of Chestnuts and Brown in San Zeno
Each year the City of San Zeno di Montagna is organizing the Festival of Chestnuts and Brown, an opportunity to savor the typical product of this place in an atmosphere of joy and conviviality.
The local variety of brown, growing on native chestnut trees in the area between Lake Garda and the valley of the Adige River, boasts the brand D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin), and is preserved and handed down long ago by the producers.
The Chestnut Festival and Brown is giuta the 44th and continues for 3 consecutive weekends between late October and early November, here are the dates of appointments:
- Saturday 22 and Sunday, October 23, 2016
- From Saturday, October 29th to Monday November 1, 2016
- Saturday 5 and Sunday, November 6, 2016
The exhibition celebrates the Brown of San Zeno D.O.P. with tastings, fairs and musical thread.
Here you will find all information and the full program: